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J Community Health. 2011 Jun;36(3):348-56. doi: 10.1007/s10900-010-9315-9.

Health disparities between Appalachian and non-Appalachian counties in Virginia USA.

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Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine,University of Virginia, PO Box 800717, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


The examination of health disparities among people within Appalachian counties compared to people living in other counties is needed to find ways to strategically target improvements in community health in the United States of America (USA).


A telephone survey of a random sample of adults living in households within communities of all counties of the state of Virginia (VA) in the USA was conducted.


Health status was poorer among those in communities within Appalachian counties in VA and health insurance did not make a difference. Health perception was significantly worse in residents within communities in Appalachian counties compared to non-Appalachian community residents (30.5 vs. 17.4% rated their health status as poor/fair), and was worse even among those with no chronic diseases. Within communities in Appalachian counties, black residents report significantly better health perception than do white residents.


Residents living in communities in Appalachian counties in VA are not receiving adequate health care, even among those with health insurance. More research with a larger ethnic minority sample is needed to investigate the racial/ethnic disparities in self-reported health and health care utilization within communities.

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